There are not many who have made quite such an instant impact when coming off the bench for their debut in a Spurs shirt as Adel Taarabt.
There are not many who have made quite such an instant impact when coming off the bench for their debut in a Spurs shirt as Adel Taarabt.At just 17 years of age and with only four games in English football playing for our reserves under his belt, the rookie Frenchman was thrust into the thick of things at Upton Park with West Ham leading 3-2 and only five minutes remaining.
It certainly wasn’t an experience that fazed the youngster though, he used his first touches to good effect with a driving run from the halfway line that ended with a foul on the edge of the Hammers’ box - an effort that helped put us back in the game.
Dimitar Berbatov superbly converted the resulting free kick, before Paul Stalteri rammed home a last-gasp winner to steal maximum points from under the noses of West Ham.
“I was really happy and proud to come on against West Ham,” reflected Adel. “Martin is a good trainer and knew the game needed changing, but he must have had a lot of trust in my ability to bring me on at such a critical point.
“I wasn’t nervous. It was more a mixture of surprise and excitement.”
A month later, Adel was causing opposing defences problems again in his second first-team appearance for the Club when he replaced Teemu Tainio as a substitute for the final 26 minutes of our 1-0 league defeat at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea.
It was so nearly a stunning introduction, with Petr Cech having to be at his best to turn the teenagers low drive from 20 yards round the post, just a minute after his arrival on the pitch.
“I just thought unlucky, Petr Cech great save!”
“It was an amazing experience. I had watched many of them play in the World Cup on television like Michael Ballack, Andriy Shevchenko and then coming on and playing against them was incredible.
“I got given a nice welcome, when Claude Makelele went right through me on the first tackle but it was not daunting.
“I respect them but everybody has two legs and two arms and on the pitch everyone is on the same level.
“I hope next season I will get even more opportunities to be involved in the first-team squad like this.”
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